Defence and research firm Qinetiq - which has a major facility at Malvern - has teamed up with Walsall-based specialist vehicle contractor MacNeillie & Son to bid for a contract for 180 new armoured vehicles for the British Army.

If its bid is successful, Qinetiq said the work on the new Medium Protected Patrol Vehicle (MPPV) would involve modifying an existing platform and bridging the gap between the recently deployed Force Protection 6x6 Mastiff and the Pinzgauer Vector 6x6 light protected patrol vehicle.

The two companies have submitted a prequalification questionnaire to the Government and say they are now awaiting the announcement of more detailed requirements.

Minimum requirements for the MPPV call for a wheeled vehicle weighing a maximum 14 tonnes to run on both roads and on rough tracks in urban, semi-urban and rural environments, able to carry up to seven troops and providing protection against ballistic, mine, fragmentation and blast threats.

Meanwhile, Meggitt Defence Systems said it had signed a follow-on contract of undisclosed value with the French DGA (General Delegation for Ordnance) for additional Banshee aerial targets, plus spares and a repair and maintenance facility over a five year period beginning earlier this summer.

The first tranche of 110 targets ordered will be delivered in 2007 and 2008 and optional tranches begin in 2009. Meggitt supplies the Banshee equipment and customers operate it themselves.

The Banshee aerial target system has been in service and operated at French ranges during the last seven years.

To date, Meggitt has supplied 263 Banshee targets to France under this contract.

In addition, Meggitt - parent of Coventry firm Dunlop Aerospace - recently supplied another 17 Banshee aerial targets to an unidentified Far East customer.